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With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 45.5
Sadhu-sanga, The Secret of Parampara.

Srimad-bhagavatam 3.23.54 Purport:

Association with a great personality is most important. In Caitanya-caritamrta Lord Caitanya says that sadhu-sanga [Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.83], the association of a great saintly person, is very important, because even if one is not advanced in knowledge, simply by association with a great saintly person one can immediately make considerable advancement in spiritual life.”

Srimad-bhagavatam 4.25.59 Purport:

Simply by the association of pure devotees one can understand the transcendental name, fame, quality and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has repeatedly said: Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.54,

“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.”

Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Krishna consciousness.

Sadhu-sanga, or association with a devotee, means always engaging in Krishna consciousness by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and by acting for Krishna.

Specifically, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra purifies one, and this chanting is therefore recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Ceto-darpana-marjanam: [Caitanya-caritamrta Antya 20.12] by chanting the names of Krishna, the mirror of the heart is cleansed, and the devotee loses interest in everything external. When one is influenced by the external energy of the Lord, his heart is impure. When one’s heart is not pure, he cannot see how things are related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Idam hi visvam bhagavan ivetarah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.20). He whose heart is purified can see that the whole cosmic manifestation is but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but he whose heart is contaminated sees things differently. Therefore, by sat-sanga, or association with devotees, one becomes perfectly pure in heart.”

Srimad-bhagavatam 5.3.14 Purport:

“A devotee does not at all desire anything for sense gratification. Devotion is therefore explained as devoid of material desires … Everyone is subjected to the influence of maya and entangled in all kinds of material desire, and Maharaja Nabhi was no exception. Freedom from maya’s influence is possible when one engages in the service of the great devotees.  Without worshiping the lotus feet of a great devotee, one cannot be freed from maya’s influence. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, “Who has been freed from maya’s clutches without serving the lotus feet of a Vaisnava?” Maya is aparajita, and her influence is also aparajita. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita 7.,14,

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome.”

Only a devotee can surpass maya’s great influence. … By the association of the Lord’s devotee, one no longer desires material opulence. This is confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.54, (see above), and 22.51,

“Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, one cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of Krishna-bhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence.”

If one is serious about escaping maya’s influence and returning home, back to Godhead, one must associate with a sadhu (devotee). That is the verdict of all scriptures. By the slight association of a devotee, one can be freed from the clutches of maya. Without the mercy of the pure devotee, one cannot get freedom by any means. Certainly, a pure devotee’s association is necessary in order to obtain the loving service of the Lord. One cannot be freed from maya’s clutches without sadhu-sanga Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.83, the benediction of a great devotee,

“The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees. Even when one’s dormant love for Krishna awakens, association with devotees is still most essential.”

In Srimad-bhagavatam (7.5.32) Prahlada Maharaja says:

“One cannot become the Lord’s pure devotee without taking the dust of a great devotee on his head (pada-rajo-bhisekam). A pure devotee is niskincana; he has no material desire to enjoy the material world. One has to take shelter of such a pure devotee in order to attain his qualities. The pure devotee is always free from the clutches of maya and her influence.”

These 3 references were the first 3 of 361 hits produced by a search in Srila Prabhupada VedaBase, with a search of the phrase “sadhu sanga”.  It is suggested that an essay or treatise could be written on this subject.  Nevertheless, these 3 are very sufficient to make the point of the importance of association with devotees.  Another interesting attitude towards the association with devotees, was made by Srila Prabhupada in the following morning walk.

Morning Walk — December 15, 1973, Los Angeles:

Candanacarya:

“One time, Srila Prabhupada, you said, ‘I will go to hell,’ but none of your disciples accepted that.”

Prajaepati:

“Actually, coming to this country, this is hell.”

Prabhupada:

“No, I am not in hell. I am with the devotees, so how can I say I am in hell? [break] Narottama dasa Thakura says,

‘My duty is to serve my guru and live with the devotees.’

That is Krishna’s grace. My mission is to serve my guru, but live with the devotees.’ “This is my desire life after life.”  A guru or bhakta does not aspire that he is going to Vaikuntha, Krishna. “Never mind.’ But their only desire, his only desire, is that to serve the predecessor acarya and live with devotee. That’s all. This is the only ambition. [break] … Where, the place where the devotees are glorifying the Lord, Krishna is there. So, if Krishna is there with the devotees, then wherever devotees are there, that is Vaikuntha. That is Vaikuntha. Just like our temple. It is Vaikuntha. Because the devotees are chanting the glories of the Lord, so that is Vaikuntha. Vaikuntha is not limited. Vaikuntha, as Krishna can expand Himself, similarly, Vaikuntha can also be expand, Vrindavana can expand. So, wherever there is Krishna, that is Vaikuntha. And where is not Krishna? And that is to be appreciated. Then if anyone appreciates Krishna everywhere, then he is living in the Vaikuntha. He is not living in hell or Los Angeles.”

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.83,

“The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees. Even when one’s dormant love for Krishna awakens, association with devotees is still most essential.”

This verse is very significant, for it says,

“The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees.”

The word “root” means, “the basic cause, source, or origin of something.”  Therefore, without association with advanced devotees, devotional service to Lord Krishna will not manifest.

Srila Prabhupada said,

“Association with a great personality is most important-Moreover, he also said that Lord Caitanya says the association of a great saintly person, is very important”

Lord Caitanya says is the above reference,

“The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees. ….”

Is “association with a great personality”, the same as “association with advanced devotees”?  Srila Prabhupada is specifying one personality, a great one; while Lord Caitanya is specifying more than one, who are advanced.  This Treatise thinks so, “a great personality” is certainly an “advanced devotee”, and a “advanced devotee,” is certainly a “great personality”.

Everybody, can have association with Srila Prabhupada who is certainly a “great personality”, and who is “very advanced”.  We have his association through his spoken and written words, i.e., following his orders and instructions.

Moreover, we can have association with each other as well, because there are many Srila Prabhupada disciple who are more advanced than us, and you should seek their association.  Then there are devotees who are less advanced than you, and you should offer your association to them. And finally, there are devotees who are just as advanced as you, and therefore, you should associate with them also.

Those who are not disciples of Srila Prabhupada, certainly have Srila Prabhupada as their primary siksa-guru, and can associate with him through his spoken and written words.  This will logically be a major source of knowledge for any inspiring new devotees.  In addition, they can also associate with Srila Prabhupada’s disciples in two ways; in one diksa guru relationship, and as many as they want, siksa-guru relationships, provided that the siksa-guru teaches the same as their diksa-guru, or their diksa guru instructs them to go to one of his/hers god brother or sister, for further siksa.

At first, a new devotee, will probably have one or more siksa-guru relationships with Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, which eventually, in the due course of time, will develop into one mature diksa-guru relationship.

Therefore, for those who are Srila Prabhupada disciples, it is imperative, that many as possible assume the responsibilities of diksa and siksa gurus; but they must be qualified.  It is a simple fact, that only they will know if they are qualified.  This Treatise has already shown that Srila Prabhupada has already ordered us to become a diksa or siksa guru, and at the same time said that we must be sincere, and know the Science of Krishna, and we must be genuinely qualified.  In order to facilitate this, there is a “White Paper” with the title “Guru & Disciple Tattva, According to Srila Prabhupada”, available on this Web-Site that will assist both kinds of potential gurus, and aspiring disciples, in determining,

  • Am I a qualified siksa guru?
  • Am I a qualified diksa guru?
  • Am I a qualified disciple?

With the above guidelines, any organized community of devotees, can get down to the business of “sadhu-sanga”, which is the business of “parampara”—the disciplic succession through which spiritual knowledge is transmitted by bona-fide spiritual masters; Literally, one after the other. It refers to the disciplic succession of spiritual masters and their disciples who became spiritual masters, beginning with Krishna and Brahma, His disciple at the dawn of creation.

This is the mechanism by which new devotees will become attracted to the Krishna-consciousness movement, and facilitate their advancement in the Science of Bhakti; and thus, causing the expansion of Lord Caitanya Krishna-consciousness movement.

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